There is no doubting that adopting a holistic approach to employee wellness and wellbeing makes complete business sense; the focus should be around body, mind and money – physical, mental and financial. It’s not just about keeping employees in work or even retaining them long-term; it’s also key to keep them healthy whilst they are at work.
According to CIPD research, nearly one third (31 per cent) of employees surveyed have experienced mental health problems while in employment. And half (50 per cent) of respondents who describe their mental health as poor, have taken time off work for this reason. More encouragingly, 43 per cent of employees have disclosed their stress of mental health issues to their employer. But, clearly this is a figure that could be improved upon.
Further research has highlighted that 46 per cent of employees would engage more with workplace health and wellbeing initiatives if their employer asked them what they’d like. We encourage employers to create an open culture and employees to speak to their line manager, HR team, or even a fellow colleague about their condition, which can also help spot the signs of mental or physical health.
At the end of the day it boils down to putting the best possible wellbeing programme in place, and then using effective communication. It is not simply a case of picking an attractive sounding list of benefits. Businesses need to select benefits to help build a healthy and happy workforce such as gym memberships or flexible working. Employee assistance programmes are designed to pick up and deal with any issues before they become more serious, and protection measures need to be put in place for employees, so they are supported financially during long periods of absence.
Over recent years, we have seen an increasing number of businesses looking at employee retention and reward programmes – centred around increasing staff loyalty, in addition to attracting new talent. As an employer, you need to give your people the tools to help themselves and to do the best in their job – after all that’s how you will get the most from them. Research that we have conducted3 indicates that 80 per cent of staff would be more loyal if they understood their benefits. It is therefore vital to develop and maintain a communication strategy to keep a workforce fully engaged. And, I’d always advocate the need to encourage employees to collaborate on projects. It can help to strengthen the feeling among your workforce that they are an important part of the organisation.
 Source: CIPD Employee outlook July 2016 – http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/employee-outlook_2016-focus-on-mental-health-in-the-workplace.pdf
3 Mybenefitsatwork whitepaper – http://mybenefitsatwork.co.uk/white-paper/effective-employee-communication